Dead Rising 2 has black zombies. There, I said it. Now let the swarms of moral zombies come and scream their death cry of intolerance and bigotry. No? Nothing? I've been waiting for it, but maybe it isn't coming this time. Maybe the world has grown smarter at last? Maybe tolerance and acceptance have finally become mainstream. Or has the little boy cried racism so many times that the old shepherd doesn't think it's worth going up the hill to investigate anymore?
I think it really started with the release of Resident Evil 5. The game starred a white protagonist who was in Africa, killing zombies. Naturally it was the local population that had become zombies, so most of them were dark skinned. Some Internet racial watchdog decided to post a blog about how offensive that concept was, and it exploded from there. The big complaint is that it portrays the African zombie as being slow, stupid, and savage, with an unquenchable hunger for human flesh. There was never any complaint about white zombies being shown the same way since the first in the Resident Evil series back in 1996, but I guess when an African gets infected with the zombie virus he ought to put on a suit and sip tea from a silver cup while reading the New Yorker.
This debate started people looking at other popular zombie games for signs of racism. Left4Dead 2 has several African American zombies mixed in among the white zombies. To me this seems like a beautiful thing. I had a zombie dream, where white zombie and black zombie took to the streets, marching shoulder to shoulder for a common goal. The goal was eating delicious brains, which maybe isn't so good for society, but it's still nice to see a game world where black and white zombies can be shot beside one another. Still there was an outcry. Nobody paid much attention to it, but I assure you it was there. Showing a dark skinned zombie even amidst a mixed race crowd of other flesh-eating zombies got called out as racist.
Personally I think Dead Rising is where the real zombie racism is. In that game there wasn't a single black zombie anywhere! It makes you think that before the outbreak, the community wasn't very welcoming of those dark skinned fellows in their shopping malls. Maybe they all deserved to turn into undead monsters because they actually were a bunch of unholy racists. Yet in the gaming community no one ever complained that it was a white protagonist killing swarms of white zombies.
Of course its sequel Dead Rising 2 does have black zombies mixed in with the predominantly white zombie crowd. It's still a new game so maybe we just have to give it a bit of time. Sooner or later we'll have someone crying bigotry when they realize the white hero can oppress black zombies with a pair of chainsaws taped to a canoe paddle, just like they did in colonial times.
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